Team Pacific Rowers (l-r) Sam Collins, James Wight, Fraser
Hart and Colin Parker. Photo: Facebook
A New Zealand resident has been rescued from the Pacific
Ocean after the boat he was in began sinking during a 3800km
Colin Parker, 36, of Auckland is among the four men of Team
Pacific Rowers who were airlifted to safety after their boat
took on water near the coast of the United States.
Three members of the crew were winched to safety in a rescue
cage by the US Coast Guard, while skipper Fraser Hart
remained on the boat with the rescue diver for an hour and a
half as the helicopter refuelled in San Luis Obispo.
Mr Parker and two other crew members -- Sam Collins, 25 and
James Wight, 36 -- were taken to San Luis Obispo airport.
The rowers were taking part in the Great Pacific Race between
Monterey in California, and Honolulu in Hawaii.
The challenge takes participants between 30 and 90 days. The
vessels are not permitted to carry a sail or engine.
The other members of the team were men from England.
In a statement released today, the thanked rescuers from the
US Coast Guard, who "risked their lives" to rescue them.
"They are among the most professional and humble people we
have ever met. They are truly lifesavers.
"We understand the pressures that adventurers like us put on
emergency services. It is because of people like those
mentioned above that those of us who row oceans, climb
mountains, play rugby or do anything that puts us at risk are
able to push boundaries, personal or otherwise. We will be
forever in their debt."
The team said they felt adequately prepared for the journey.
"Conditions of entry into the race are strict and extensive
and rightly so. We were making good speed on a respectable
"The boat we thought was watertight was clearly not. Within a
day water was seeping through from our watermaker hatch into
the main cabin. Although we could keep this at bay by
temporarily using the electric bilge, it was not sustainable.
Slowly the boat gained weight at the stern end and water came
on the vessel quicker than we could bail it.
"When the support yacht arrived at 7.45pm on Friday, June 20
our electrics failed, meaning an inability to bilge
electrically, leaving us with just a hand pump. From this
point what was a slowly worsening situation ballooned into a
soon to become Mayday scenario.
"Confused seas of up to 20 feet and winds up to 30 knots
quickly inundated the boat with water as we all sat on our
swamped deck in orange survival suits, in total darkness,
awaiting rescue. The support yacht circled us, maintaining
vocal and VHF communication, to ensure we were safe and only
two hours later the team from the US Coast Guard arrived in
their specialized rescue helicopter."
The team said they were "all alive, in good spirits and with
Mr Parker is British, and has been living in Auckland since
late last year.